SMUG HIV – AIDS Report 2008
SMUG HIV – AIDS – Report Appendix – V Same Sex Sexual Behavior. HIV and Health Care in Uganda
SMUG HIV – AIDS- Report Appendix – IV Gay and Bi Men and HIV in Kampala, Uganda
October 16, 2009 – PinkNews
Human rights groups oppose Uganda’s proposed death penalty for homosexuality
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Seventeen human rights groups have called for proposed new laws on homosexuality in Uganda to be scrapped immediately. This week, Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, of the ruling party, tabled the private member’s bill in parliament to create a new crime of "aggravated homosexuality". According to his bill, those convicted of having gay sex with disabled people and those under the 18 would face the death penalty. Gay and human rights groups have condemned the proposed laws, saying they would violate basic human rights. In a statement, 17 groups expressed their concern over the bill, titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.
Kate Sheill, Amnesty International’s expert on sexual rights, said: “Certain provisions in this bill are illegal; they are also immoral. They criminalise a sector of society for being who they are, when what the government should be doing instead is protecting them from discrimination and abuse.” Others warned it would lead to a rise in HIV infections, while some warned that other minority groups were likely to find themselves receiving similar treatment.
Victor Mukasa, of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said: “This inflammatory bill will be taken as further confirmation that it is okay to attack or even kill people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. It is the government’s responsibility to immediately withdraw this dangerous proposal.”
The bill also imposes life imprisonment on those who have homosexual sex. Although this is already the case in Uganda, the new law widens the definition of the offence. Other offence include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house "for purposes of homosexuality". Bahati said his bill would protect children, youths and the "traditional family". Human rights activists say Uganda, with a population of 31 million, has some 500,000 gays and lesbians.
2009 October 20 – Global Voices On-Line
Uganda: Bloggers discuss anti-gay bill
by Haute Haiku
The Ugandan anti gay bill has been tabled in parliament and now it awaits the president Yoweri Museveni to sign and make homosexuality officially illegal. The previous code was not clear but now the bill called “The anti homosexuality Bill 2009 ” tabled by a member of parliament David Bahati which states that any homosexuality act or tendencies might face the death penalty or face life imprisonment . The Ugandan writes :
The multiple laws that I will be breaking as soon as the president signs this law. Well, our detractors had already said that we would be stiffed with a tougher law, but this goes way beyond that. If I attempt to commit the offense… (god, the number of times that I have made passes and they have been rejected!) Each of those times was worth 7 years in jail. Good heavens!!!! Before, we could be liable to life imprisonment. gug hereby declares that, when the President of the Republic signs this law, gug will be liable to the death penalty… because I and my lover are serial offenders, breaking this law.
The bill further prohibits adoption by gay couples; any person who aids, promotes counsels any acts of homosexuality in any way will face up to seven years imprisonment, or risk a fine of sh100m. It states the ill effects of homosexuality as:
Research indicates that the homosexuality has a variety of negative consequences including higher incidences of violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and use of drugs. The higher incidence of separation and break-up in homosexual relationships also creates a highly unstable environment for children raised by homosexuals through adoption or otherwise, and can have profound psychological consequences on those children. In addition, the promotion of homosexual behavior undermines our traditional family values.
Given Uganda’s historical, legal, cultural and religious values which maintain that the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman is the basic unit of society. This Bill aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family. These threats include: redefining human rights to elevate homosexual and transgender behavior as legally protected categories of people.
There is also need to protect our children and youths who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care, or otherwise.
Producers, publishers and distributors of material containing homosexuality especially if a business, an NGO will have its certificate or registration canceled and the director will face seven years in prison. That includes gay blogs in Uganda :
Poor sympathizers. You are not left to love us. No, all lovers of gays, and gays in Uganda will suffer, and be punished by this law. Any press conferences? Not by gay Ugandans. You see, we are a pariah people that will never be like all other Ugandans. Ha ha ha ha ha!
Oh, the gayuganda blog is one of the things which are illegal, as per that bill. I am furiously promoting homosexuality on this blog, complaining about a law like this. So, 5 years in prison, and my (non existent) bank balance will be set back by 100M Uganda shillings…! And the people who dare to give us condoms and lubricant for sex… Or, if you dare to have an HIV prevention program for homosexuals in Uganda… or even try to teach safer sex. Well, the penalties are stiff. Very stiff. Jail, and jail and other things.
October 29, 2009 – The Daily Monitor
Clergy: Jail gays, don’t hang them
by Sheila Naturinda
Homosexuals should not be killed but instead imprisoned for life, religious leaders have suggested. Making their input in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 yesterday, the clergy said the clause on death as a penalty for homosexuality be scrapped.
“If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive,” said Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, the provincial secretary of the Church of Uganda. The group, which also comprised Dr Joseph Kakembo of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Dr Joseph Sserwadda, the head of Pentecostal churches, Prof. Peter Matovu, the Orthodox vicar general of the Orthodox and Sheikh Ali Mohammed, representing the mufti, however, made it clear that they support the Bill, because “homosexuality is an evil and is anti-godly”.
The Bill tabled before Parliament on October 15, by Mr David Bahati [Ndorwa East], and Mr Obua Benson [Moroto], seeks to prohibit any form of sexual relations between same sex people. Parliament yesterday begun public debates on the Bill, conducted by the committee on presidential affairs.
October 29th, 2009 – Ex-Gay Watch
US Slams Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law
by David Roberts
AFP – An official with the US Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, has said that the new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if enacted into law, would “mark a major setback in the promotion of human rights.” We urge states to take all necessary measures to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests, or detention.
Ugandan Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo spoke with journalists today. While acknowledging the great numbers of “foreigners” who express grave concern over the possibility of such a bill becoming law, he made it clear that he is not paying attention to them. Buturo balked at the notion that the proposed bill — which, among other things, would criminalise any public discussion of homosexuality and could penalise an individual who knowingly rented property to a homosexual — constituted a human rights violation.
“We are really getting tired of this phrase human rights. It is being abused. Anything goes, and if you are challenged? ‘Oh, it’s my right’,” the minister snapped. The proposed bill would have wide ranging effects, making it a crime to even know a gay or lesbian in Uganda without reporting them to the authorities. Public discussion of GLBT issues would come to a full stop as that too could be punished as “promoting” homosexuality.
A Facebook group on this issue has been set up by Warren Throckmorton and has approx 700 members at last count.
November 6, 2009 – PinkNews
UK government ‘concerned’ about Uganda’s anti-gay law
by Jessica Geen
The UK government has released a statement on the proposals in Uganda to execute people who have gay sex following condemnation of the bill from France and America. The bill, currently before parliament in the African country, would create a new crime of "aggravated homosexuality". Those convicted of having gay sex with disabled people and those under the 18 would face the death penalty. The bill also imposes life imprisonment on those who have homosexual sex. Although this is already the case in Uganda, the new law widens the definition of the offence.
Other offence include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house "for purposes of homosexuality". In a statement given to PinkNews.co.uk, a spokeswoman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are concerned by the introduction of a private member’s bill on anti homosexuality in Uganda. "Adoption of the bill could do serious damage to efforts to tackle HIV and its criminalisation of organisations that support homosexuality could, in theory, encompass most donor agencies and international NGOs.
"The UK, alongside our EU partners, has raised our concerns about the draft bill and LGBT rights more broadly with the government of Uganda, including with the prime minister and several other ministers, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, and senior officials from the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will continue to track the passage of the bill and to lobby against its introduction."
This week, France’s foreign ministry released a statement condemning the bill. It said: "France expresses deep concern regarding the bill currently before the Ugandan parliament. "France reiterates its commitment to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."
In America, leana Ros-Lehtinen, (Republican, Miami), Tammy Baldwin, (Democrat, Wisconsin), Gary Ackerman, (Democrat, New York) and Howard Berman, (Democrat, California), have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning that it had severe implications for the freedom and safety of gay people.
November 7, 2009 – The Examiner.com
Ugandans speak out against anti-homosexual death penalty bill
by Kelvin Lynch
The people of Uganda are letting the government know they do not support an anti-homosexuality measure known as the "Bahati Bill," Named for its author, MP David Bahati, it is one of the most vile, disgusting diatribes ever written again the LGBT community, and has been condemned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
The bill is particularly disturbing, declaring that homosexuality is a "creeping evil" and is not a human right. Interestingly enough, the Ugandan goverment came to this conclusion after a speech be U.S. Rev. Rick Warren, who told them homosexuality isn’t a human right. The bill says, "The fact that the moral fabric in America and Europe has been put under siege … should not suggest that we should follow suit." However, Bahati ridiculously insists his bill is not an act of hate towards LGBT people in Uganda.
Bahati, in the Observer, acknowledged that the government of Uganda has been "under attack" from younger citizens of the country because of the bill, but older Ugandans and members of clergy tend to support the bill because it protects the "traditional family" (sound familiar?).
The comments and an op-ed piece in the Observer attacking the Bahati Bill provide the most insight into the will of Uganda’s people regarding this bill. Anonymous writers (understandably so) have commented that the bill seems to be "putting homosexuality at the same level as murder, bestiality, and treason, which is preposterous." One writer calls Bahati’s approach to homosexuality "largely radical … and seems to be informed by personal aversion towards gay sex. It’s particularly disturbing when the Bill seeks to make every citizen spy on the other and thereby intrude into other people’s privacy."
He wants everyone who gets to know about an individual’s homosexual orientation, including his or her parents, other family members, medical workers, religious leaders and school authorities, to report to the Police. Having a different moral view is not good enough reason for Parliament to enact laws that are unconstitutional and violate people’s rights to privacy, freedom of speech and expression. Furthermore, the writer laments that the only form of punishment for so-called "aggravated homosexuality" in Uganda is the death penalty under the bill. If passed, any person in Uganda commits aggravated homosexuality when the "victim" is a person with a disability or below the age of 18, or when the offender is HIV-positive.
Another commentator said, "being gay should not be said in the same breath with bestiality, prostitution, murder, rape pedophilia and others. Those are crimes, but being gay is not a choice and not a crime. We should be discussing the current discriminatory law that makes homosexuality a crime."
One commenter said," I am not entering debate the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is complex. Just highlighting bits that need re-thinking. One such bit is the reference to the ‘traditional family’. That is a simplification, as the conception of family differs even in Uganda: single parent family, polygamous family, monogamous family, extended family etc. Correct reasoning also comes in here. Whether you are for the Bill or not, you would probably admit that the family is not under threat or faced with extinction because of certain categories of unmarried people, of whom they are many in Uganda.
According to the Church Times, the bill has been denounced by Amnesty International and other human-rights organizations as “illegal, immoral, ominous, and unnecessary”. However, Anglican church officials have remained largely silent. Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, Nsaba Buturo, is reported to be a member of the Church of the Province of Uganda. He is quoted at a press conference introducing the Bill as saying the legislation would make Uganda a leader in countering gay culture in Africa. “On the issue of homosexuality, let them forget about [human rights]. The government has started biting,” he said.
The official Church of Uganda, which is Anglican, says it is still studying the bill, and has yet to issue an official position. However, the prospects for gay and lesbians in Uganda don’t look good. Although the church does not support the death penalty for homosexuality, Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye , head of the church, says homosexuality is "much more widespread than we originally thought," and that "homosexual behavior is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way." He goes on to say that "we cannot support same-sex unions or condone the ordination of homosexuals," a response to the trend in the United States.
November 18, 2009, – msmandhiv.org
A Human Rights Impact Assessment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
by Sylvia Tamale
I would like to thank the Human Rights and Peace Centre for inviting me here this afternoon to share my views on this bill. It is great that HURIPEC organized this to be a dialogue and not a debate because debates have a tendency to polarize and divide along irrational gut-level responses. A dialogue, on the other hand, usefully sets the stage for people to listen to each other with understanding, tolerance and helps build bridges. I hope that this public dialogue will mark the first stepping stone for all of us to embark on a rewarding journey of mutual respect, simple decency and fairness.
Read Report HERE
27 November 2009 – The Guardian
Fury at Uganda proposal for gay executions
by Nicholas Watt in Port of Spain, guardian.co.uk
Britain and Canada today led Commonwealth protests against a law proposed by the Ugandan parliament which would introduce the death penalty by hanging for "aggravated homosexuality". Gordon Brown expressed Britain’s concerns about the parliamentary bill when he met Yoweri Museveni, the veteran Ugandan president, at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. The suggested legislation would apply to sex between gay men or lesbian women in which one person has HIV.
The bill also proposes the introduction of a three-year prison sentence for anyone who knows of the existence of a gay man or lesbian woman and fails to inform authorities in Uganda within 24 hours. The British prime minister’s anger was echoed by his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper. Harper’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, said: "If adopted, a bill further criminalising homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda."
Stephen Lewis, a former UN envoy on Aids in Africa, described the proposed legislation as having "the taste of fascism." In a speech in Trinidad, reported in the Globe and Mail, Lewis said: "The credibility of the Commonwealth is hanging by a spider’s thread. The putative legislation declares war on homosexuality. What is put at risk here – beyond the threat of the death penalty for HIV-positive homosexuals – is the entire apparatus of Aids treatment, prevention and care." Museveni has not endorsed the private member’s bill, which was introduced by a backbencher in the Ugandan parliament. But Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister, James Nsaba Buturo, welcomed the proposal, saying that he regards the bill "with joy" because it will "provide leadership around the world".
November 25th, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Follow The Money: The American Connection to Uganda’s Death Sentence For Gays
by Jim Burroway
Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, where he laid out yesterday for the first time the pipeline of money and support for those behind the Anti-Homosexuality Act which is now before Uganda’s Parliament.
Before investigating that particular connection, a bit of background on the American secretive group, The Family, is in order. The Family (sometimes known as The Fellowship) was founded in 1935 by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant preacher who said that God came to him one night and said that Christianity has been focusing on the wrong people: the poor and the suffering. According to Vereide, God commanded him to become a missionary to the rich and powerful, so that they could unleash blessings to the rest of society through the exercise of theocratic principles that would, in effect, “trickle down” to the masses.
Immediately, Vereide set out to recruit a group of “Key Men” in Seattle, where his new theology was put to the test. Key Men are said to be those who are identified as having been chosen by God to be in positions of power and influence — that they are in those positions not because of their own hard work or fortune, but because they were chosen by God to be there. And in their positions, they are to exercise their power and influence in order to bring out a New Order throughout the world. To give you an idea of some of the influence The Family has in American politics today, Jeff Sharlet told Terry Gross:
And in particular – Joe Pitts has been in the news because of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment – was one of the guys who really helped to bring abortion to the forefront to the group, starting in the late ’70s, and that’s become a concern of a lot of members. And, as you expand outwards over the last couple decades, and you look at the concerns of politicians like Senator Sam Brownback, Senator Jim Inhofe, Senator Tom Coburn, all these guys who are very involved members — you see homosexuality, you see all the culture-war issues taking a place alongside biblical capitalism and this foreign affairs expansionism, and, in fact, merging in The Family’s view into one sort of united world view.
Read Entire Article HERE
December 2, 2009 – Times Live
UN envoy urges Uganda to drop laws against aids patients, gays
Visiting UN Secretary General Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa Elizabeth Mataka urged Uganda to drop its impending laws against people infecting others with the AIDS and called upon the government to soften its stand on gays. The Ugandan parliament is preparing a law under which an AIDS patient who knowingly infects another with the deadly disease will be jailed for life if convicted by a court of law while an AIDS patient who rapes a minor could face hanging.
Another controversial bill being handled by the legislators would see a person found guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse with a partner of the same sex being sentenced to death or imprisoned for life. Mataka told reporters that if passed, the law that is intended to punish people infecting others with AIDS will instead force people suffering from the disease to go "underground" and avoid seeking treatment. "Criminalizing the transmission of HIV will drive people underground and they will not visit health centers for treatment.
Who will go for HIV testing if he knows that he will suffer the death sentence? The law will drive them away from seeking counseling and testing services," she told a news conference. Uganda has been one of the world’s worst-hit in the global AIDS epidemic and has lost over one million people to the disease since the early 1980s. Over one million others carry HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
To stem the spread of the disease and maintain what government insists are the moral values of the country, parliament is preparing an enactment that intends to punish people found guilty of engaging in same sex intercourse and marriages. "The Ugandan government should be careful on this (anti-homosexual) law, because it will undermine the homosexual’s need to seek treatment from HIV and they will go into hiding," Ms Mataka said.
The anti-homosexual bill should be discussed by human rights groups and health experts before it is passed into law, she added.
2 December 2009 – Queeried
Plans To Criminalise Homosexuality in Uganda Met With Worldwide Condemnation
A plan by Uganda to criminalise homosexuality in the country via the 2009 Anti Homosexuality Bill has been met with anger, not only by the LGBT community in Uganda but also by governments around the world. Recommending that those caught having gay sex repeatedly be put to death, this law would also see those who were deemed to be touching in a gay way imprisoned
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, responding to the bill at the White House World AIDS Day event , said that Uganda’s action was not only a step backwards concerning civil rights, but also one that undermines the efforts to fight the disease worldwide. She also hinted America would not sit back and let it happen stating “We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide.”
Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister has also made his own feelings clear directly to the President Museveni, the Ugandan leader, when they met at an official banquet for Commonwealth leaders last week, and the European Union has also added it’s voice to the backlash against the Ugandan government saying that the draft law goes against human rights, and has called for religion to be separated from politics.
Current estimates believe he European Union and United States make up around 75% of aid to Uganda, something that could be a very useful tool in acting to get the bill scrapped, however it is likely that similar actions may be seen again within the Commonwealth with Peter Tatchell highlighting in the Daily Mail that ‘Of the 53 Commonwealth member states, over 40 still criminalise same-sex relations, mostly under anti-gay laws that were originally imposed by the British government in the nineteenth century, during the period of colonial rule.”
December 3, 2009 – GlobalGayz.com
Condemn the Ugandan Gay-Killer Legislation
by Richard Ammon, GlobalGayz.com – Laguna Beach California
Populist pastor Rick Warren, the Jesus-loving pastor in California who proclaims Christian values as his life guides, has again elbowed his way to notoriety by his refusal to condemn the gay-killer legislation being considered in Uganda. (Read bill here)
He is hiding behind the charade of “not commenting on the political process of other nations.” So his previous condemning of homosexuality only applies to the USA and to no other nation? Hardly His invectives against LGBT people apply worldwide. We are everywhere and we are much more similar than different. Condemn one and he condemns us all.
What outrageous hypocrisy to posture as a Christian leader and not be aghast at the horrors of more impending cultural genocide in Africa. The intended Uganda legislation proposes the death penalty for a sexual act between consenting people and criminalizes a parent for not reporting their gay or lesbian child. "It’s catastrophic," said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group. "People are already being arrested and intimidated without the new law. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?"
Read Entire Blog
4 December 2009 – The Guardian
Ugandan church leader brands anti-gay bill ‘genocide’
by Liz Ford and Emma Pomfret, guardian.co.uk
If Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill becomes law, it will be little short of state-sponsored "genocide" against the gay community, a prominent member of the Ugandan Anglican church said this week.
Canon Gideon Byamugisha said the bill, which recommends the death penalty for anyone repeatedly convicted of aving gay sex and prison sentences for those who fail to report homosexual activity to the police, would breed violence and intolerance through all levels of society.
"I believe that this bill [if passed into law] will be state-legislated genocide against a specific community of Ugandans, however few they may be," he said.
The bill, which will strengthen Uganda’s existing laws against homosexuality under its Penal Code Act, has been widely condemned by world leaders and human rights groups, who fear it will trigger a witchhunt against the gay community. Activists have raised concerns that the bill will hinder the country’s fight against HIV/Aids among the gay community and legal experts have said it will undermine freedom of expression and association.
Yesterday, Uganda’s Daily Monitor news website reported that Sweden will cut aid to Uganda if the bill is passed. Canada has also condemned the bill and the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, took the matter up directly with the Ugandan president, who has given tacit support for the bill, at the Commonwealth summit last weekend. Britain is Uganda’s fourth largest donor. But James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of state for ethics and integrity, told the Guardian last week, that the government was determined to pass the legislation, even if meant withdrawing from international treaties and conventions or losing donor funding.
Exploiting traditional views
Byamugisha said gay people were being used as "scapegoats" for Uganda’s social problems, such as the breakdown of the family unit and rising HIV infection rates, and politicians were using the bill to tap into the prevailing anti-gay mood in the country in the run up to the 2011 elections.
"They [politicians] are exploiting the traditional and cultural abhorrence to same-sex relationships to their advantage. They know that if they criminalise homosexuals, homosexual tendencies and homosexual acts, they stand a better chance of winning votes from the majority of religious followers and leaders, because most of us may not be able to distinguish what may be considered ‘unacceptable’, from the point of view of religious and cultural belief and opinion, from what is ‘criminal’, from the point of state law that is meant to keep peace, order and justice," he said.
"What makes this proposed law truly distasteful is the amount and level of violence that is being proposed against suspected, rumoured and known individuals who are gay, and their families and community leaders in their places of worship, residence, education, work, business and entertainment." He added: "When you say that parents of homosexual children, and that pastors and counsellors who extend spiritual guidance and psycho-social support to homosexuals, will be regarded as ‘accomplices’ in promoting and abetting homosexuality if they don’t report them to police, then you take the law a bit too far."
Byamugisha’s stance will put him at odds with many in Uganda. But the minister has a track record of speaking against a prevailing mood. In 1990, after the death of his first wife, he discovered he was HIV-positive. Two years later he became the first practising African priest to publicly declare his status, not an easy thing to do in a country that, for all its efforts to significantly lower infection rates, has not shaken the stigma associated with the disease.
Since revealing his status, Byamugisha, who is a Christian Aid goodwill ambassador on HIV/Aids, has campaigned for the rights of people living with the disease. In 2003 he established the Friends of Canon Gideon Foundation to end the stigma of diagnosis, encourage safe sexual practices, improve access to treatment and support orphans or vulnerable children who have lost parents. This year he was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize for his work.
Taking a gamble
But while Byamugisha took a risk over his HIV status, speaking out against the bill could prove a bigger gamble. The church in Uganda, as in other African states, takes a clear view that homosexuality is a sin and is something that can be cured. Some will no doubt see the bill as a way of curbing an "evil" practice. But the minister hopes the ferocity of the bill will deter religious leaders from throwing their weight behind it.
"I sincerely hope that my fellow religious leaders will comprehend my stand against the level of violence proposed in the bill," he said. "I hope that they will not translate my hesitation to support the bill as a moral surrender to behaviours and practices that we regard as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘sinful’ in our ethics and morality frameworks. I hope that they will translate my hesitation as shying away from endorsing a bill that will institutionalise violence and death to a minority group simply because the majority do not like them."
Regardless of opinion from faith leaders, though, Byamugisha believes he has an obligation to speak out. "I realise that if I am happy to speak out against discrimination and stigma in relation to HIV, then I should also be happy to speak out against paralysing homophobia, sexism, tribalism, Puritanism, fundamentalism and against anything else that reduces and diminishes our love, care and support for each other as we travel the road of faith and belief."
December 8, 2009 – CNN
Why is Uganda attacking homosexuality?
by Saeed Ahmed,CNN
(CNN) – As a gay man in Uganda, Frank Mugisha is used to the taunts, the slurs and the daily harassment of neighbors and friends. But if a new bill proposed in the east African country becomes law, Mugisha could be put away for life, or worse, put to death for having sex with another man.
"Right now, you can’t go to places that are crowded, because the mob can attack us or even burn us. We can’t walk alone. We are ostracized by relatives. But if this bill passes, it will become impossible for me to live here at all. And that part hurts the most," Mugisha said.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill features several provisions that human rights groups say would spur a witch hunt of homosexuals in the country:
• Gays and lesbians convicted of having gay sex would be sentenced, at minimum, to life in prison
• People who test positive for HIV may be executed
• Homosexuals who have sex with a minor, or engage in homosexual sex more than once, may also receive the death penalty
• The bill forbids the "promotion of homosexuality," which in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention
• Anyone who knows of homosexual activity taking place but does not report it would risk up to three years in prison
"Who will go to HIV testing if he knows that he will suffer the death sentence?" Elizabeth Mataka, the U.N. Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, told reporters last week. "The law will drive them away from seeking counseling and testing services."
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under colonial-era laws. But the bill, introduced in October, is intended to put more teeth into prosecuting violators. It applies even to Ugandans participating in same-sex acts in countries where such behavior is legal.
"They are supposed to be brought back to Uganda and convicted here. The government is putting homosexuality on the level of treason," Mugisha said.
Lawmakers have indicated that they will pass the bill before year’s end. It has the blessing of many religious leaders — Muslim and Christian — in a country where a July poll found 95 percent opposed to legalizing homosexuality. The Rev. Esau Omara, a senior church leader, said over the weekend that any lawmaker opposing the bill will pay for it during the next election, according to local newspaper reports. And a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje, has called for gays to be rounded up and banished to an island until they die.
Several media outlets also have inflamed sentiments in recent months by publicly pointing out gays and lesbians.
Who will go to HIV testing if he knows that he will suffer the death sentence?
Read Article HERE
December 12, 2009 – Daily Monitor
The story of a young Ugandan gay couple
A proposed anti-gay law could make Uganda perhaps the most dangerous place for homosexuals and drive the gays of Uganda further underground. In a rare interview, the first of its kind with a newspaper journalist, a lesbian told Saturday Monitor’s Rodney Muhumuza why she is very scared. The Sunday before last, Val Kalende listened quietly as her pastor’s sermon digressed into a soft tirade against homosexuals. “We may even have one in our midst,” the cleric told a congregation of about 50 born-again Christians.
If Ms Kalende did not know her pastor to be an honourable man, a father figure, his sudden anti-gay remarks would have left her shifting uncomfortably in her chair, wondering if those dreaded words were meant for her. In the end, the woman who also serves as a minister, regularly taking her place on the worship team at her church of eight months, chose to let it go. It would not be her last time there.
Ms Kalende’s chosen place of worship is a small church somewhere in Zana, in Wakiso, not too far from her Namasuba house, past a stage for motorcyclists who have made it a habit to ask if she is a man or a woman. Ms Kalende’s standard attire — she is comfortable in a pair of denim jeans and does not wear skirts at all — turned her into a favourite target for the boda-boda cyclists, once upsetting her so deeply that she had to report her tormentors to the authorities.
On the afternoon I met Ms Kalende, 27, she had just returned from attending service. The television in her living room was tuned to a station named Top, a Christian broadcaster, and a pastor was wedding heterosexual couples as elated witnesses chanted loudly in the background. As she readied herself for a new conversation, Ms Kalende grabbed the remote control to reduce the volume, creating artificial silence that would be broken by the occasional sound of cutlery dropped in a kitchen sink.
A teenage girl, a relative of Ms Kalende, was doing the dishes as some children lazed around the house. Then Ms Kalende headed for the door, leading the way to her veranda, away from the children she considered too young to know she was gay, for the sake of children she wanted to protect. In a narration of the kinds of people she was not too comfortable around, Ms Kalende’s account would include inquisitive children, illiterate motorcyclists, gossipy parishioners, bigoted employers and, most recently, a lawmaker named David Bahati. “My first reaction was, ‘Who is Bahati?’ He is the last person I knew,” Ms Kalende said, launching into a decidedly personal explanation for why, “for the first time, I am very scared”.
In October, Ndorwa West MP Bahati brought an anti-gay law to the House, proposing in his document a new felony called “aggravated homosexuality”, committed when the offender has sex with a person who is disabled or underage, or when there is HIV transmission. The crime should attract the death penalty, he proposed, while consenting homosexuals should be imprisoned for life. The proposed law, which has the tacit approval of President Museveni, would also penalise a third party for failing to report homosexual activity, as well as criminalise the actions of a reporter who, for example, interviews a gay couple.
Although Mr Bahati said he was not in a hate campaign, he could not explain the lack of facts to back his case — the proposed law seeks to improve on the penalties prescribed in the Penal Code, which already criminalises homosexuality — or provide evidence to back claims that European gays were recruiting in Uganda.
In a country where homosexuality is still taboo, the bill had excited the homophobic sentiments of many Ugandans, and it also looked set to shrug off human rights concerns. As the Canadian government called the law “vile and hateful”, and as the Swedish government threatened to cut aid over a law a minister described as “appalling”, the authorities in Kampala were saying they would push for the introduction of legislation that would make Uganda one of the most dangerous places for gay people. Ms Kalende has been openly gay since 2002, several years before she became a rights activist with the group Freedom and Roam-Uganda, six years before she met the woman she calls the love of her life.
December 12, 2009 – Daily Monitor
Donors lodge formal protest against anti-gay Bill
by Amgelo Izama
Kampala – Donors have formally protested the anti-Homosexuality Bill, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The diplomatic protest technically known as a “demarche” was issued in the last few weeks and follows on the heels of a worldwide campaign by gay rights campaigners and human rights groups.
“We can confirm that we have received a demarche from the Delegation of the European Union which has also been signed by the Norwegian and American Embassies,” said Mr Henry Okello Oryem yesterday morning. If the Bill, which has local popular support, is to pass, it will put the government and donors in a difficult position. Recently, a top Swedish official said Sweden is likely to cut aid to Uganda. The issue has turned into a public relations nightmare for the government.
By the weekend major global news networks including CNN, BBC and TIME were carrying stories condemning the Bill, crowding out most stories about Uganda including the passing of a “progressive” law banning female genital mutilation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the official contact of accredited foreign embassies and the issuing of a protest, states for the record the stand of donors on the matter.
According to Mr Oryem, however, the government was being “unfairly attacked” since it had not itself taken an official position on the Bill. “The public debate is still going on and we cannot stifle democracy by suppressing it. The Church has strong views on this and so do the Ugandan people,” he said, adding: “I have undertaken on behalf of government to present the views of the donors in the demarche to the responsible committee of Parliament.”
Diplomatic sources, who could not speak openly about the issue because of its sensitivity, say they have received guarantees from the government that the death penalty prescribed for homosexual rape in the Bill would be dropped in the final version. On Thursday Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California, named as one of the “most influential” preachers in America, caved in to public pressure and publicly came out against the Bill.
13 December 2009 – The Guardian
Anti-gay bigots plunge Africa into new era of hate crimes…Uganda is likely to pass a law within months that will make homosexuality a capital offence, joining 37 other countries in the continent where American evangelical Christian groups are increasingly spreading bigotry
by Tracy McVeigh, Paul Harris, Barbara Among
"Learned behaviour can be unlearned," said David Bahati. "You can’t tell me that people are born gays. It is foreign influence that is at work." Bahati has just presented his anti-homosexuality bill 2009 to Uganda’s parliament. The bill, which will be debated within a fortnight and is expected to become law by February, will allow homosexuality to be punishable by death.
"Most people have misunderstood the bill," Bahati told the Observer. "The section of the death penalty relates to defilement by an adult who is homosexual and this is consistent with the law on defilement which was passed in 2007. The whole intention is to prevent the recruitment of under-age children, which is going on in single-sex schools. We must stop the recruitment and secure the future of our children."
There is wide support for Bahati’s law which, while being an extreme piece of anti-gay legislation, is not unique. As far as gay rights are concerned, it would appear that much of Africa is going backwards. Nigeria has a similar bill waiting to reach its statute books and already allows the death penalty for homosexuality in northern states, as does Sudan. Burundi criminalised homosexuality in April this year, joining 37 other African nations where gay sex is already illegal. Egypt and Mali are creeping towards criminalisation, using morality laws against same-sex couples.
The Ugandan bill extends existing laws to make it illegal to promote homosexuality by talking or writing about it, and forcing people to tell the authorities about anyone they know who is gay. The bill, said Bahati, 35, an MP from the ruling party, aims to "protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sex promiscuity on the people of Uganda".
Read Article HERE
December 16, 2009 – NPR
Taboos Silence Opponents Of Uganda Anti-Gay Bill
by Gwen Thompkins
In Uganda, a bill designed to eradicate homosexuality has strong support in the government and among evangelical Christians. Proponents of the bill link homosexuality to the West. And under the bill, Uganda would withdraw from any international treaties or protocols that recognize the human rights of gay people. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill a "very serious potential violation of human rights." But few in Uganda are willing to speak against it because those who do are labeled gay.
In the lobby of Uganda’s parliament building is an installation showing the potentially disastrous effects of climate change. The sign says: "The Choices, Actions and Agreements Made Now Will Determine Which Future Becomes Reality." Whoever wrote that might well have been describing the country’s political climate. Ugandans may soon have a choice to make. Homosexuality has been illegal there for more than 100 years, but now lawmakers are considering legislation that would go further. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 would jail consenting adults who engage in gay sex. It would give life sentences to people in same-sex marriages. It would extradite gay Ugandans living abroad and prosecute them.
David Bahati, a first-term lawmaker, wrote the bill. "This is a defining bill for our country, for our generation. You are either anti-homosexual or you’re for homosexuals, because there’s no middle point. Anybody who does not believe that homosexuality is a crime is a sympathizer," Bahati says.
It is the first bill Bahati has ever written, and he calls it a "very wonderful piece of legislation." He says he can’t imagine a Uganda in which gay people live freely, because the possibility is too horrible to consider. And he says if Western aid to Uganda hinges on gay rights, then the West can keep its money. His bill would impose the death penalty on adults who have gay sex with minors, or who spread HIV through gay sex. And it would jail anyone who fails to report gay activity to police within 24 hours.
And what if his brother were engaging in homosexual activity? "I’d arrest him myself and take him to the police … because it’s bad for society," Bahati says. The bill is popular. Even Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has linked gay practices to Western influences.
Sylvia Tamale, a law professor and author, couldn’t disagree more. "Homosexuality or same-sex attractions have been part and parcel of African communities for time immemorial. But the terms ‘homosexuality,’ ‘lesbian,’ ‘gay’ — those are relatively new. And those are terms many Africans attracted to people of the same sex never use or never identify with," she says.
Tamale teaches law at Makerere University, the top school in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. She is writing a book on sexual orientations in Africa, and she is one of the few people in Uganda who has publicly criticized the legislation. "There’s no doubt about the fact that the majority of Ugandans are for the bill. Many of them have already blocked their minds. All they hear is ‘homosexuality’ and they don’t want to know, they don’t want to understand. All they see is anal sex, period," she says.
If the bill becomes law, a coalition of lawyers and activists will try to kill it in court. Human rights lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi says U.S. evangelicals may be behind the bill. "It’s difficult to tell from looking at this bill to say whether it is homegrown or foreign. The people who are anti-gay are supported by the Christian right from the U.S. It could be possible that there is some external influence," Rwakafuzi says.
U.S. evangelicals have long had a close relationship with top Ugandan leaders. In March, three American evangelicals attended a conference in Kampala on how to turn gay people straight. California minister Scott Lively was a key speaker. Stephen Langa heads Family Life Network, the group that sponsored the event. He often quotes Lively’s teachings, and he claims that rich Westerners are paying children there to have gay sex. Langa says a lot of people need to be in jail. "Providing literature, writing books about it, standing up and saying it is OK — you should be arrested. Even if you are not in the act, you should be arrested. Anybody who tries to promote it should be arrested. That’s why we need a stronger law," Langa says.
Lively has called Uganda’s bill "too harsh." And Rick Warren, the popular U.S. pastor whose ministry extends to Uganda, condemns the bill. But they are not the only Americans active in Uganda. A U.S. evangelical group called The Family reportedly includes U.S. lawmakers who have shown great interest in Ugandan affairs. The bill’s proponents are reluctant to talk about whether The Family supports them in any way. Langa initially denied that he had ever heard of The Family. Then he said wealthy enemies have long associated him with the group. But he refused to talk about how much money his organization has.
In the end, supporters say the bill is by Ugandans and for Ugandans. But Val Kalende is Ugandan, and the bill is meant to eradicate her from society. Kalende, a lesbian activist, says if there are rich Western promoters of homosexuality in Uganda, she would like to meet them. As a volunteer, she says, she can barely pay her rent. "They think that our lives are all about having sex, sex, sex, sex. They don’t see it as a sexual orientation," she says.
Kalende says the bill will roll back HIV/AIDS treatment in the country and push gay Ugandans deeper underground. But gay Ugandans won’t be the only people down there. Erias Lukwago, a first-term lawmaker, says he doesn’t like the bill but can’t afford to disagree with it in parliament. "I’m telling you I cannot. I fear the reaction of society to be associated with gays — highly stigmatized, ostracized. Even for this interview alone it might be perceived that the gay community is paying me," he says.
Until the political climate changes in Uganda, Lukwago says he is keeping his mouth shut.
19 December 2009 – Voice of America News
US Says Anti-Gay Law Would Harm Uganda’s Global Image – State Department official talks with US gay and lesbian groups concerned with the legislation in Kampala
by David Gollust – Washington
The U.S. State Department’s top Africa diplomat says approval by Uganda’s parliament of a bill criminalizing homosexual activity would harm that country’s world image and undercut the fight against HIV/AIDS. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson discussed the issue Friday with leaders of U.S. gay and lesbian groups concerned about the legislation pending in Kampala.
The Obama administration is stepping up its public efforts against what it describes as draconian legislation pending in the Ugandan parliament that would criminalize homosexual acts and make them, in some instances, punishable by death. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson spoke to reporters after a meeting with about 25 leaders of U.S. gay and lesbian groups concerned about the legislation being considered by Ugandan legislators since October, and which has heavy support from conservative Muslim and Christian lawmakers there.
Carson said he has spoken directly with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni twice about the pending bill, most recently early this month when the Ugandan leader transited the United States after attending the Commonwealth Summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Assistant Secretary said he told Mr. Museveni, who has been prominent among African leaders in the battle against HIV/AIDS, that such legislation would undercut progress against that epidemic and undermine Uganda’s global image. "We believe that this legislation is a violation of human rights, that it will undermine the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda, that it will stigmatize a community, and that ultimately it will harm and damage Uganda’s human rights image and record. We believe this legislation is inappropriate, should be withdrawn and is not the kind of legislation that we wish to see in Uganda and for that matter any other place," he said.
Carson said President Museveni, in contacts with U.S. officials, has distanced himself and his party from the legislation, and said he is concerned about its contents and implications. He noted that Mr. Museveni is empowered to veto legislation from parliament and said the United States is urging him to let his principles guide him and do everything he can to see it that it does not become law.
Carson also said the United States has not threatened Uganda with aid cuts or other punitive steps despite its concern about the issue. "We’re not making any threats at this point. We think that it is in Uganda’s interest to do the right thing on this legislation. President Museveni and his foreign minister know our concerns about it. We hope that they will exercise leadership in insuring that this legislation is not passed," he said.
The pending legislation in Uganda would toughen an existing and largely un-enforced law barring sex between people of the same gender. Homosexual sex with minors, or while infected with HIV, would draw the death penalty. Supporters of the measure in Uganda have dismissed outside criticism as a new form of colonialism. Raising its profile on the issue, the White House issued a statement opposing the draft law last week and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized it in a Washington speech on administration human rights policy on Monday.
December 10, 2009 – Fridae
Uganda "Kill the Gays" Bill: Rachel Maddow thrashes US ex-gay promoter Richard Cohen
by News Editor
Uganda’s “Kill the gays” bill is said to be inspired by an American ex-gay activist and author of Coming Out Straight who claims he has helped thousands of gays “become” straight.
Rachel Maddow, the openly lesbian news and opinion TV show host, quotes and thrashes the arguments made by Richard Cohen, author of Coming Out Straight. His “arguments” and book have been used by Ugandan lawmakers who have proposed legislation that punishes “aggravated” homosexuality with the death penalty. The law also proposes incarceration for those who know about a gay relationship but fail to report it to authorities within 24 hours.
"I realise I was taking the risk of helping promote you and the way that you think about these things by putting you on the air," Maddow told viewers. "But I do think that you’ve actually got blood on your hands."
"Just in case this gets heard in Uganda," she added. "Richard Cohen is not licensed by any American or any other licensing body whatsoever."
When grilled about having the appropriate license to practise as a therapist, he insisted that he practiced psychotherapy "under the requirements of every state that he had practiced in" and has helped thousands of men and women "come out of homosexuality" before conceding that he didn’t have the relevant credentials or qualifications to do so.
When Maddow mentioned that he was kicked out of the American Counseling Association in 2002 or 2003 due to ethical concerns, he attempted to paint himself as a "victim of a hate crime" and that the organisation was being intolerant of his views. To which Maddow replied, "I will say that the ACA kicked you out because of ethical concerns about your financial relationship with your clients and using them to promote yourself … not because that you‘re anti-gay."
A full transcript can be read here.
December 13, 2009 – Box Turtle Bulletin
Major Medical Journal Warns “Ugandan Bill Could Hinder Progress on HIV/AIDS”
by Jim Burroway
The British medical journal The Lancet has just published an article warning about the detrimental effect Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill would have on that nation’s fight against HIV/AIDS.
Reporter Zoe Alsop describes a talk that MP David Bahati, the prime sponsor of the anti-gay bill, gave before a cheering audience at Makerere University in Kampala (subscription required): Before ceding the podium, Bahati had one last point to make. “This is not a Ugandan thing”, he said, his chest swelling with indignation. “Homosexuals are using foreign aid organisations to promote this. If an organisation is found to be promoting homosexuality, then their licence should be revoked.”
Shoulder to shoulder with Bahati’s supporters a half dozen or so Ugandans listened quietly. Several were doctors who had spent much of their careers toiling against a disease that has taken the lives of more than a million Ugandans. Their faces were stoic as they contemplated the implications of Bahati’s bill for the fight against HIV/AIDS not just among gay men but also among the wives and children of men who also have sex with men. They considered the long, lean years that had been spent quietly setting up networks to disburse information on HIV/AIDS to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans.
“As a doctor, the law infuriates me”, said one general practitioner, who is much sought after by sexual minorities for his willingness to treat them, and who asked that his name not be used for fear that he would be arrested for working with sexual minorities. “We are only now getting to a point where people understand there is a problem. This law is going to erase all of that.”
Zoe reports that in much of Africa, where AIDS is predominantly a heterosexual disease, many people including doctors believe that it’s impossible for gay people to become infected with HIV. Bahati’s proposed legislation, which would impose draconian penalties including death on anyone who is gay, would have a chilling effect on LGBT people seeking medical care from health authorities. And the bill’s provision requiring anyone who knows someone who is gay to report them to police within twenty-four hours would only serve to reinforce those fears among Uganda’s gay community.
All of that is only compounded by another provision of the proposed bill which punishes anyone who “promotes or in any way abets homosexuality and related practices” with seven years imprisonment. Medical doctors providing safe-sex information or who simply treats someone who’s gay can be seen as promoting or abetting “homosexuality and related practices.” These proposals have already had a chilling effect on HIV/AIDS workers:
In past years, Wamala says, Icebreakers (Icebreakers Uganda is an LGBT HIV/AIDS service organization) travelled around Kampala to meet with sexual minorities and sex workers. They offered counselling, condoms, lubricant, and medical referrals. This year, though, has been different. People seen attending meetings were blackmailed by neighbours, who threatened to report them to the police. “Nowadays, people are hiding”, Wamala said. “The blackmail and the arrests skyrocketed and we saw that it was not safe. At meetings we saw the number had really fallen, and even for those who came we were not sure whether we should be able to come the next time.”
Other groups say they have been able to work as long as their activities are carefully disguised. Thomas Muyunga, a doctor in the Most at Risk Populations Network, says he always makes sure that testing and counselling events include people who are heterosexual. “Originally we wanted to go to these people directly”, Muyunga said. “We realised that it was impossible. So the disguise is to address that. That’s why we have managed to even work today.”
Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.
December 14, 2009 – AFP
Anti-gay bill may cost Uganda research institution
Kampala — Uganda may lose the chance of hosting a major AIDS research institution if it passes an anti-homosexual bill that seeks to significantly curtail gay rights, a UN official said Monday. United Nations and Ugandan health officials announced that the Geneva-based African AIDS Vaccine Programme (AAVP) will be shifted to Entebbe during an AAVP conference that began in Kampala Monday. The move is to boost Africa’s participation in AIDS vaccine research.
"Criminalising adult consensual sex is not only a human rights issue, it goes against a good HIV strategy," said Catherine Hankins, the chief scientific advisor for UNAIDS, which alongside the World Health Organisation backs the AAVP. "If the bill passes, UNAIDS and WHO would have to decide what happens and to see whether this is an appropriate place," she told AFP.
Uganda’s AIDS Commission director Kihumuro Apuuli welcomed UN’s selection of Entebbe as the AAVP headquarters, but has been silent about the bill, which has been widely condemned by human rights and public health officials. But recently Apuuli said men who have sex with men were not a priority group in Uganda’s fight against HIV.
"You go back to France and tell them that in Uganda we have limited resources and have to allocate resources to areas of need," he told AFP. He said that gays were responsible for less than one percent of new infections in 2008. Under the draft law, any individual who promotes homosexuality could be sent to jail.
The bill compels any person of authority to report known homosexual activity to the police and imposes the death penalty in cases of rape of a minor by a person of the same sex, or where one partner is HIV positive. But senior government officials have said the death penalty provision will be reviewed in parliament.
December 22, 2009 – Monsters and Critics
Anti-gay picketers demonstrate in Ugandan capital
Kampala – Several hundred people demonstrated in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Tuesday against gays and lesbians, and expressed support for the country’s impending tough anti-homosexual law. The protesters, led by born-again clerics, cultural leaders, and university undergraduates, marched to the parliament where they presented a petition. The bill – introduced by parliamentarian David Bahati – would see gay men and lesbians sentenced to life imprisonment for having sex, and a death sentence for sex with minors.
Anyone failing to report a homosexual act committed by others would face up to three years in jail. Despite some local opposition and international outrage to the proposed law, the Ugandan government seems determined to push it through. In a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the general secretary of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, Samuel Kobia, said he was ‘saddened and distressed to receive the news from Uganda regarding a proposed law against homosexual individuals.’
As the demonstrators were marching to parliament, Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo told a news conference that foreigners were promoting opposition to the anti-gay bill.
December 22, 2009 – Reuters
Uganda: "Less noisy" female condom proves a hit
The views expressed are the author’s alone.
Kampala,(IRIN) – Ten months after being re-launched, a new brand of female condom has proven popular among a test group of Ugandan women, according to a study. FC2 was launched in February; the government stopped distributing the original female condom, FC1, in 2007 on the grounds that women had complained it was smelly and noisy during sex.
"The new condom has improved features and will enable women to have a procedure within their control to give them more choices for prevention [of HIV and unwanted pregnancies]," said Vashta Kibirige, the coordinator of the condom unit at the Ministry of Health.
"The women [surveyed] say they like this version of the condom better and they are ready to use it," said Janeva Busingye, coordinator of the Most at Risk Populations Initiative project, which carried out the study in the capital, Kampala.
The UN Population Fund and the NGO, Programme for Accessible health Communication and Education, are spearheading the re-launch of the female condom, which is still in the sensitisation stage and will become available to the public in 2010. The women questioned said the new condom was less noisy, more comfortable and well lubricated, increasing their sexual pleasure. It also has no smell and can be inserted in the vagina at least eight hours before sex, which the women liked a lot.
The Health Ministry and its partners have so far trained women in Kampala to teach other women the benefits of the female condom. According to Kibirige, they hoped the condom would become more popular in other regions after a situation analysis in 2008 revealed that cultural barriers and lack of proper education had prevented their use in some parts of the country.
According to an official at the sexually transmitted diseases clinic at Mulago Hospital, Uganda’s largest referral facility, men who have sex with men (MSM) would also be taught about the female condom. Uganda has no official policy for prevention of HIV among MSM, and outlaws homosexual sex.
"We shall promote it among MSM because when we were sensitising people they expressed a need for them; they use for them for anal sex after removing the ring," the official said.
More on the female condom:
What of the female condom?
The female condom – the step-child in HIV prevention
Anyone for a female condom?
At each end of the female condom is a flexible ring; at the closed end of the sheath, the flexible ring is inserted into the vagina or anus to hold the condom in place – this ring is sometimes removed during anal sex to reduce the possibility of rectal injury.
A 2003 study of the acceptability and safety of a brand of female condom for anal sex between men found incidents of condom breakage, semen spillage and rectal bleeding to be similar for the male and female condom, but slippage was more frequent with female than male condoms. The authors recommended design modifications and training in the use of the female condom for anal sex.
December 31, 2009 – PinkNews
Ugandan tabloid prints list of ‘tycoons who bankroll homos’
by Stephen Gray
The Red Pepper, a Ugandan tabloid, has published a full-page article with the personal details of people who, it claims, ‘bankroll Ugandan homos’, Box Turtle Bulletin reports. The paper, which has previously incited action against supporters of homosexual rights, printed the names, addresses, offices and makes of car belonging to the people it suspects are financing rights movements in the country. In the article, ‘coordinators’ in the African country’s LGBT community are reported to be paid a monthly salary in the region of US$780, many times more than the average Ugandan.
It also claims the blogger GayUganda shares in a US$20m fund from foreign sources. The claim was dismissed on the blog today. The paper has previously run articles ‘outing’ scores of men in the country. Red Pepper’s exposé explained "how to spot a gay man", "terminologies used by gays" and "how the gay men shaft", a description of gay sex. It claimed that lubricants were "sent to the gays here from abroad."
The Box Turtle and blogger GayUganda identify the paper’s source for its most recent article as Paul Kagaba, an "ex-gay". Uganda is currently under the international microscope for its proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would criminalise advocacy and support by and for LGBT people in the country. The penalties include five to seven years’ imprisonment, and fines of up to US$50,000. The law would also punish Ugandan citizens who have gay sex abroad.
Homosexuality is currently punishable by life imprisonment in Uganda, under laws introduced by colonial administrations in the nineteenth century. The bill’s proposal to implement the death penalty for certain homosexual offences caused international outrage. The BBC has been criticised for its handling of the debate.
The Minister for Ethics subsequently suggested that penalty would be removed in favour of rehabilitating offenders. According to Reuters, he said: “There have been a lot of discussions in government … regarding the proposed law, but we now think a life sentence could be better because it gives room for offenders to be rehabilitated. Killing them might not be helpful.”
Friends and family members of gay Ugandans who do not report them to authorities would face up to three years in prison. The bill is due to be debated again in January.
December 30th, 2009 – Box Turttle Bulletin
Ugandan Religious Leaders Announce National Anti-Gay Rally
by Jim Burroway
Repeating pastor Martin Ssempa’s call for a nationwide rally in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Uganda’s Parliament, two more religious leaders have announced plans to participate in the rally scheduled for January 19, 2010. From the independent Daily Monitor:
Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, Pastor David Kiganda, the leader of Born Again Christians in Uganda, said: “We are here to protect the integrity and morals of our country so we cannot allow conditions from foreign countries to compromise our culture.” He said this while announcing the fourth National Prayer Day and Night to be held at Nakivubo Stadium starting today until tomorrow.
Kiganda is the pastor of the 3,000-member Christianity Focus Centre in Mengo Kiseny, the largest slum in the Kampala area. Kiganda marched alongside Martin Ssempa during last week’s march on Parliament, when they presented a petition to the Parliament’s deputy speaker demanding immediate passage of the anti-gay bill.
Kiganda was joined in this latest announcement by Pastor Henry Minan from Mbuya Pentecostal Church. The New Year’s Eve prayer rally at Nakivubo Stadium is an annual tradition, featuring many of Uganda’s most prominent pentecostal pastors. Anti-gay prayers and sermons are expected to be a central feature in this year’s rally.
Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.